SM32 WW1 Layout – Tin Turtle visit

On Thursday Graham brought his almost finished Tin Turtle along for some photo’s. The layout is progressing well, the main unloading yard is nearing completion and the sky has now been painted. Work on the rear embankment has been started, but there is a long way to go with that!

Photographs in order of work completed.










SM32 WW1 Further Progress

A meeting this afternoon with Graham. He brought his ‘Tin Turtle’ with him for some gauging tests. A little trimming was required, but it soon had good clearance. We may still have issues with the tallest wagon required on the layout, to this end Graham has purchased a kit of an ambulance covered wagon so that we can test further. This part of the layout will now be left until we can test.

More work has been completed over the weekend including work on the back-scene, drainage ditch, rough ground between the ballasted area and the dilapidated barn.

One thing that I have tackled today is the track on the first board. We found out that the temporary narrow gauge railways of WW1 used unseasoned or dipped sleepers, so  they were basic wood colour and not the treated dark brown colour. I experimented and mixed up some basic wood coloured paint and painted the sleepers, when dry I added some Coloron Wood Dye over the paint. It seems to have worked, but I will check in the morning and add another coat of Wood Dye if necessary. I have also painted the track sides and highlighted the chair with dark rust paint.

Below are some photo’s in the order I completed them.



















SM32 WW1 Layout – progress early July

The ballasting has now been completed on both boards – I will remind you that ballasting is made up of sand, grit, earth (wargaming war dirt and medium stones) and a little O gauge real ballast to top up. These railways were only used for two or three years maximum and anything to hand was used as ballast. I think the look is of a ‘temporary’ railway only.

The small drainage ditch along the front of the layout has been fashioned in cork and in real life even the soil from this was also used to ballast. Although the drainage ditch is only a scale 3′ wide, it will have water (varnish) added so it looks deeper than in really is.

The next thing I tackled was the bank at the back of the layout. This was made from three layers of 1/4″ cork glued together and then shaped as required, it was then covered with a thin coat of Polyfilla. It will then be glued against the backscene, painted and flocked. The final part will be adding hedging, bushes and small trees, some photo’s show the hedging balanced on the bank to see the effect.

The final part of this update, was a decision that had to be made, and we have decided that the tracks that emerge from the fiddle yard will be through a dilapidated barn. When these temporary railways were laid, nothing got in the way and buildings just had holes knocked through to gain access and any original doors were simply taken off.

Having not modelled this gauge before, I keep the one wagon in my possession and a couple of scale solders on the baseboards  to remind me of what scale I am working in. The swing on the bogie wagon through the entrance from the fiddle yard has been checked, however we do not have the tallest wagon available and this does cause some height concerns!!!  The basic sides of the barn have been formed as a template and test fitted.

















SM32 WW1 Layout All track now done.

After the arrival of the final piece of track and the two buffer stops this morning, all track laying is now complete.

The decision has been made to go DCC sound on all Loco’s and to also have a background sound system with the sound of a distant battle. We believe that the sounds are available and will start to progress a supplier.

We still need to sort out a coupling system and the entry to the sector plate scenic cover.

The ballast, I say that very loosely, has been obtained from the War Gaming World and expensive it was! Effectively ballast was not used and it was mainly stone and earth.





Work on this layout will slow down a bit now as I have fallen behind with O and OO amendments to existing layouts that appear at Exhibitions later this year. However, we have set a target date for the finished layout of 1/4/19 —- silly fools!



Baseboards for SM32 Layout

I have now finished the baseboards for our WW1 SM32 Layout. It has lengthened a bit from the proposed size, in fact it has grown from 7′ x 18″ to now being 11′ x 18″.

It is now two baseboards, one is 6′ long and the other 5′ long, including the sector plate.

I would emphasis that this is not a ‘trench railway’, but a behind the lines narrow gauge railway, just beyond the range of the German Guns.

Both Boards are lightweight Laser Cut Baseboards.

Below are some photos of the finished boards – track laying next. The track has been obtained and we now have four wagons and a ‘tin turtle’ petrol locomotive.

We have a couple of ideas for the track plan, one with and one without a point. A bit of trial and error game to follow.

The Wagons, Loco’s etc. proved no problem to obtain, but I am struggling to get suitable G Scale WW1 figures, the only purchase so far being the Bachmann offering – any advice gratefully accepted. And yes, I am definitely out of my comfort zone – but this project is different and ‘not another diesel depot’.








I hope to do at least a monthly update on this project.



Sector Plate fiddle yard – cheap option

On Saturday Graham and myself visited the Narrow Gauge Exhibition at Bressingham Gardens. Although I do not do Narrow Gauge as such, with our SM32 WW1 Project about to start, we decided to see what was available. Well, most of the layouts were 009 and 0 16.5, there was even a 009 WW1 Layout and very good it was.

There were a few traders present and amongst them was ‘Norfolk Heath Works’ with the owner Stuart Hughes. Graham knew Stuart as he was next to Morlock Heath at the recent Great Eastern Models Scenic Open Day. Both Graham and Shaun did purchase some of the Narrow Gauge 15″ x 11″ Module Boards. Stuart sells these Modules at just £15 each for both Sector Plate and Normal Boards.

While I have no intention of going 009, I was rather taken by the Sector Plate Module, I duly purchased two. I thought these could be adapted for use in OO and even O Gauge.

I already had two 4′ X 15″ Laser Cut Base Boards by another supplier. These were already made up so I made the ‘Norfolk Heath’ Sector modules and modified then to my needs. Below are photo’s of the modifications carried out and the joining of a 4′ x 15″ to the 15″ x 11″ Sector Module.

The cost of making the now 15″/11″ x  66″ was about £55 each, including cork.










I made two different size extensions to the original self-contained Sector Plate. The Norfolk Heath module is in 4mm MDF while the main board is Ply Wood. I would have preffered the Norfolk Heath Module to have been in Ply Wood, but that said it is very strong. I bolted and used PVA to join the Boards together.